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Flower Arranging Basics

Creating flower arrangements is easy and fun. Start with these basic tips and "branch" out with your own stylish ideas.

Flower arranging employs many simple art techniques to create the proper balance of style and colors. All you really need is a container and the perfect combination of foliage and flowers. It's so easy.

First, there are there major groups of flower arranging styles: line, mass, and the combination of both, which is called line-mass. Line arrangements are elegant and utilize long sweeping forms, while mass arrangements use an array of complementary hues and flower species to create a variety of dense shapes. The line-mass design will be a restricted blend of mass and line flowers and/or greenery.

Any type of container can be used; however, line arrangements typically look best in low bowls.

Each arrangement is developed with the occasion, the placement, and the environment in mind. That will also affect the type of container.

Keeping flowers in place is not easy and there are several options:

-floral foam, either wet or day (wet is preferable and it will have to be soaked first)
-floral frog - this is essentially any type of holder, but can be in a variety of shapes and materials. It may have holes in it and can even be shaped like an actual frog! They are collectible as well.
-chicken wire - can either cover floral foam or be bent and anchored in the container by itself. Works best with bunched flower stems.
-floral clay - can anchor frogs and wire in a container and will accept stems.

Regardless of arrangement, flowers can be arranged in a "natural" or "stylized" design. Natural means that the flow and form of the foliage will be similar to its original growing state; stylized means that you will create the arrangement in a forced shape, such as a dome or triangle.

When planning the shape of an arrangement, you can choose between symmetrical or asymmetrical alignment. That's up to you, but typically, line arrangements are asymmetrical while mass flowers are built in a symmetrical fashion.

Flowers and greenery are chosen according to color balance, shape, and texture. Balance is important and no component should compete with another; they should instead blend to lead the eye from one part of the arrangement to another.

The variations in flower arranging are endless and it is almost impossible to make mistakes. Your only aim is to achieve a creation that has depth, color, emotion, and you can't go wrong.


Choose from these basic flower designs to create your first stunning masterpiece

You know the basic design rules of flower arranging and are now familiar with the terms line, mass, and line-mass. Now what should you do?

The theme of your floral arrangement is where it all begins - whether it's to celebrate the season or for a holiday party or special event. But, from there, it is up to you to make the plant and container selections.

Single buds or blooms can be arranged in a multitude of ways. Group bud vases with low bowls of floating single flowers to create a unified table arrangement. Add floating candles in a separate bowl for special effect. Mix and match colors or use complementary hues. Even one large flower floating in an appropriately-sized bowl can be beautiful.

A domed arrangement falls into the "mass" category; it is usually rounded or oval. Start with the tallest point in the center and work downward on all sides. Domes work well if the table is situated in the middle of a room so it can be enjoyed from all sides.

These can be viewed from front and back, and will have a defined triangular shape. The horizontal height should be the same as the vertical height for a traditional approach. The largest flowers should be in the middle and spiral downward. Filler flowers and greenery, along with branches will define the sloping sides.

Vertical or Horizontal
Either of these will place emphasis on simplistic lines that go either up or sideways. A vertical arrangement may be more flexible in that softer ivies can be draped to each side. Focal flowers should be placed in the center of a horizontal piece and at the base of a vertical one. Shallow containers are recommended.

Just like a half-moon, the crescent is a fascinating style. The challenge lies in finding the right plants for the curvature. The focal flowers should be situated low and near the base. The longest stem will shoot upward from the back or side while the shorter curve will come from the front or side to create a unified half-moon shape. Filler flowers can drape over the container in opposing directions as well.

"S" Curve
Also known as Lazy "S" and Hogarth's Curve. This is the ultimate in a rhythm arrangement. Branches should be bent slightly to create one upward curve while a second branch is added in an opposite direction to form the sweeping "S" shape. Focal flowers can expand along the sweeping lines rather than being bunched up at the base. Filler greenery and blossoms can be arranged to suit your taste. This is a very dramatic and challenging style.



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